The company assigned the task of redeveloping Queensland Raceway has been shut down by the Ipswich City Council.
The council had previously announced plans for a $220 million upgrade to the Queensland Raceway precinct that would include an extension to the 3.12-kilometre circuit, nicknamed ‘The Paperclip’ for its flat and largely featureless six-turn layout.
The council has subsequently been rocked by corruption allegations surrounding the project’s chief supporter, its former mayor Paul Pisasale, who has been charged with offences including misconduct in public office and fraud.
A resale and purchase of the leases at the necessary for the redevelopment “could not proceed without a protracted and expensive legal process”, a council statement claims.
“Council has repealed its earlier decisions relating to the Queensland Raceway lease and will not proceed any further lease resumptions,” newly-elected mayor Andrew Antoniolli explained.
The decision not to redevelop the venue could place Queensland Raceway’s future on the Supercars calendar in doubt. A 10-year contract extension was confirmed in July, however it was contingent on long overdue safety upgrades being made to the circuit.
Queensland Raceway does not hold a permanent CAMS license, and each year Supercars is required to install temporary safety measures to ensure it meets the FIA’s safety standards.
“We have a 10-year agreement with the Ipswich City Council that is independent of the [redevelopment] project that was put forward,” Supercars CEO James Warburton explained to the series’ official website.
“We’ve worked with the council each year to ensure that the circuit meets the safety standards.
“The latest FIA track inspection took place last month and the upgrades in line with their recommendations would need to be in place before the event is run at Ipswich in 2018.
“We need to understand what is required to meet that and have the appropriate conversations with both council and government to make sure the event goes ahead.”
Queensland Raceway has suffered four fatalities in the last five years. In 2013, Porsche Supercup driver Sean Edwards was killed, followed by another fatal accident for club racer Dennis Smith in 2016. Just a few weeks after this year’s Ipwswich SuperSprint round, a driver and passenger were killed after their car smashed into a wall at a local drag racing event.
Image via LAT Images